The above image is that of an Iñupiaq Whaling Suit, modified through photoshop. Artist Allison Warden studied the artifact at the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka, Alaska in 2014.
The entire suit was waterproof and used to butcher whales. Only two exist in the world, in museums. Artist Allison Warden studied the suit and made a paper pattern so that more suits can be created.
If all goes as scheduled, in February of 2016 a traditional whaling suit will be created using the original materials, with help from the Akootchook Whaling Crew. It will be sewn the traditional way, using waterproof stitching
In this bright future you can't forget your past.
My grandmother gave me her sewing machine in her will. I found out after she had passed on that she had wanted me to have it. It was as if she was sending me a message to create, to use my hands and tools to create, as she did.
The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.
By studying artifacts from my ancestors, I feel connected to them through time. By recreating the objects, I feel their presence with me, through shared motions, shared creative experience.
The Iñupiaq people are going through a time of tremendous change. The ice that we know so well, is melting. We are on the front lines of climate change. Unipkaaġusiksuġuvik (the place of the future/ancient) speaks to the spiritual needs of the people, through the creation of a ceremonial space.
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